Headwaters Region
1997 Connecticut River Corridor Management Plan

Updated Water Resources Chapter


The recommendations offered below were reached on a consensus basis in 1992-1997 by the diverse membership of the Headwaters Subcommittee. Click to see recommendations for


USDA should:

  • recognize that New England should have its fair share of federal assistance, and that the needs of its agriculture are distinct from those of other regions
  • maintain funding levels for cost-share programs for conservation practices such as construction of manure storage pits and adopt consistent, simple terms for these programs
  • increase awareness of new nutrient management techniques through the Cooperative Extension Service as a potential cost-saving measure for farmers as well as a pollution- reducing tool
  • get together a core group of farmers to bring the Environmental Quality Incentives Program of the 1996 Farm Bill to Coos and Essex counties with the help of the Farm Services Agency, Cooperative Extension, and Natural Resources Conservation Districts


  • maintain the current use program in New Hampshire with an increased penalty for taking land out of current use; strengthen the current use program in Vermont
  • provide tax incentives for land protection; assure that protection of private property rights is integrated into land conservation programs; provide list of conservation strategies for landowners and town officers
  • review the Soil Production Index tax scale for farmland to make taxation more fair to farmers
  • explore incentives for alternate financing to encourage sustainable natural resource businesses
  • support funding of Natural Heritage programs; ensure that management decisions are based on good science and not upon old data or hearsay

Water Resources agencies should:

  • encourage more water quality monitoring, particularly by citizen volunteers, and provide results to local river subcommittee
  • monitor for possible industrial contaminants
  • encourage planting or retention of stream side buffers to minimize runoff, to filter sediment, nutrients, and other pollution that might otherwise enter the stream, and to provide shade to keep water cool and better oxygenated for trout
  • on eroding riverbanks, encourage vegetative stabilization of streambanks and use of vegetation interplanted in riprap; include planting of vegetated buffers in streambank restoration projects; minimize the use of riprap where possible
  • address bank erosion on Hall Stream along the international border with Quebec
  • recognize the importance of rapids and areas such as Lyman Falls and the breached Wyoming Dam in returning oxygen to river water; encourage maintenance of current undammed sections of the river; avoid construction of additional dams and further impoundment of the river
  • encourage interested parties such as Wausau, state fish and wildlife/game agencies, and others to ensure that the Wyoming Dam site remains undeveloped and hazards to boaters are removed
  • examine the impact of water flow regime upon habitat
  • discourage impacts upon wetlands
  • discourage gravel mining in the river
  • enforce closure of gravel pits according to permit timetable
  • encourage riverfront towns below Murphy Dam to develop emergency plan in case of dam failure
  • educate public on permitting process to avoid unpermitted actions that could impact water quality
  • develop better communication with local citizens; continue communication and cooperation with forest landowners

 Forest Resources agencies should:

  • enforce existing logging regulations
  • recommend adherence to forestry "best/acceptable management practices" and provide education about the effects of improper logging practices on water quality
  • protect the ability of private landowners to manage and sustain their woodlands
  • continue logger training programs
  • promote wood as a renewable resource
  • promote ecosystem management as the preferred means of achieving sustainable forestry
  • implement recommendations of Northern Forest Lands Council
  • encourage conservation easements with interested landowners
  • reduce the risk of and suppress wildfires
  • promote and use integrated pest management to lessen reliance on chemicals
  • develop special financing program targeted to the forest products industry such as enterprise zones
  • support forestry guidelines that discourage slash near streambanks
  • encourage better communication between the recreation/tourism and wood products industries

Fish and Game/Wildlife agencies should:

  • educate fishermen
  • carefully consider the potential impacts upon fisheries and private landowners from increased access and publicity. Direct the public to appropriate access sites, and provide limited signage at river access points which is aesthetically in keeping with the rural nature of the region
  • establish new cartop, gravel-surfaced river access point on the New Hampshire side of N. Stratford-Maidstone bridge, at end of natural segment at the confluence of Bog Brook, on parcel which the landowner has offered for this purpose. This will provide alternatives for day canoe trips on the river, and could increase business to two small stores in the vicinity
  • increase enforcement by fish and game wardens; encourage them to continue watching for sources of turbidity and educating landowners about nonpoint source pollution which may affect fisheries
  • pursue greater cooperation between the states in stocking fish and in enforcing existing regulations
  • work with New England Power Company or its successors to help minimize the effects of low dissolved oxygen levels during critical times, through cold water releases from Lake Francis
  • work with the landowner to remove dangerous debris at the breached Wyoming Dam site
  • continue to inform boaters of designation of natural segment for non-motorized boating
  • protect the breeding stock by establishing a "slot limit" that would require use of a single hook and the immediate release (after the photo) of 12-18" fish. Larger fish may be kept as trophies, which could be a benefit to trophy fisher-tourists.
  • maintain a limit of 5 fish/day, of which only one may be larger than 18"
  • continue fish community studies
  • discourage fishermen from using lead sinkers which can poison waterfowl
  • use incentive programs for landowners for good habitat stewardship
  • provide education on significant habitat and good stewardship for local conservation and planning commissions, outfitters, citizens
  • work with farmers toward integrating seasonal and year-round farm activity with wildlife habitat needs; consider where and when farm work is done to minimize conflict with wildlife when possible
  • lease or purchase development rights on privately-owned riverfront farms if the farmer is interested
  • work with New England Power Company or its successors to install osprey nesting platforms at Lake Francis and the Connecticut Lakes; assist NEP to manage its extensive riverfront lands appropriately for wildlife
  • adopt a biological community level conservation strategy, which is more efficient and cost effective than one which focuses upon individual species. Many of the total number of species present in an area can be preserved by maintaining good examples of the major biological community types

Department of Safety Services should:

  • enforce non-motorized boating on designated natural segment 

Transportation agencies should:

  • work with state historic preservation offices to establish fund for maintenance of historic bridges
  • provide discreet and attractive signs identifying the Connecticut River at river crossings
  • provide at least a paved shoulder on Route 3 from a point 2 miles north of Groveton to N. Stratford to increase safety for bicyclists. Avoid further road improvement that could lead to increased speed of traffic. 

Tourism and Recreation agencies should:

  • educate visitors to the region on respect for private land and on visitor etiquette
  • assist local businesses in developing tourism oriented around the region's wildlife
  • establish communication with riverfront farm and forest landowners
  • identify an organization to assume responsibility for the Monadnock Fire Tower, and relocate trail head onto property of willing abutting landowner
  • support reciprocity between state snowmobile clubs
  • consider compensating landowners for keeping land open
  • update each state's liability statute to establish hold-harmless mechanisms whereby the state underwrites a landowner's defense

Agriculture departments should:

  • educate the public about the value of locally-produced foodstuff
  • create newsletters and other public information
  • encourage small part-time farming as a viable form of agriculture; utilize financial programs, markets, and educational tools
  • educate the public and current and would-be local farmers about community- supported agriculture
  • provide marketing assistance to farmers; New Hampshire Department of Agriculture expand its marketing assistance capability
  • Vermont provide support for Northeast Vermont Development Association to prepare mapping of prime agricultural soils along the river and their present use to complement similar maps prepared for New Hampshire

Historical resources agencies should:

  • encourage bank stabilization to protect archeological sites
  • investigate ways to assess historic barns and other such buildings to avoid loss from heavy taxation
  • work with state transportation agencies to establish fund for maintenance of historic bridges

TOWNS should:

  • enforce existing regulations
  • support the maintenance of natural features and agricultural and forest lands along the river
  • develop means to guide development on prime agricultural soils, such as:
    • discouraging building in the flood plain
    • encouraging commercial development in areas that are not prime agricultural areas
    • asking residential developers of land next to farms to provide a buffer to prevent conflicts between new residents and existing farm use
  • discourage buildings or public investment (roads) in the flood plain and on flowage rights of way, to allow the river to use its flood plain for flood storage, to keep property loss low, and to reduce taxation to pay for disaster relief
  • encourage landowners to set structures a safe distance from the river even when outside of the flood plain, to reduce the risk of property loss in erodible areas and to help maintain scenic character
  • consider adopting some form of guidance for cluster development or similar tool as a way of keeping farmland available and road maintenance low, to create the sense of community in traditional village clusters, to minimize impact upon waterfront habitat, and to encourage growth or expansion of buffers to reduce bank erosion. There are some versions of this tool which do not require a town to have subdivision regulations.
  • investigate how conservation easements can help keep town service and school costs down if the land is not developed into house lots or second homes which could become year-round residences
  • encourage road agents to use best management practices for road, ditch, and culvert maintenance and salt application, to save the town money and to prevent siltation and pollution from salt in runoff
  • encourage road agents to use vegetative bank stabilization and minimize use of riprap and other "hard" solutions where bank erosion is a problem; use vegetation interplanted in riprap; include planting of vegetated buffers in streambank restoration projects
  • ensure that riverside construction activities do not disturb riverbanks and buffers
  • encourage developers and landowners to establish and/or maintain buffers of native vegetation along rivers and streams for privacy and pollution control
  • ask for sedimentation and erosion controls during and after construction
  • encourage proper construction when it is to take place on steep slopes, to minimize erosion
  • protect groundwater recharge areas to keep water supplies safe
  • discourage disturbance of wetlands along the river
  • encourage closure of completed sections of gravel excavations before these operations are expanded
  • encourage an adequate buffer between the river and gravel pit operations
  • encourage subcommittee involvement with planning boards and landowners
  • participate in Heritage Trail planning
  • encourage cooperation and local partnerships among private landowners and non- profit organizations which can provide assistance in preserving/maintaining natural communities
  • learn about species of concern within the town
  • develop management plans for town-owned conservation areas
  • avoid using high end of the Soil Production Index scale to derive tax figures for river bottom lands
  • investigate ways to assess historic barns and other such buildings to avoid loss from heavy taxation
  • those towns which have zoning could consider specifically allowing multiple uses in historic buildings in village centers, particularly home industry uses, which could allow occupation of these buildings to be more economically feasible and discourage sprawl by supporting continued activity within historic village centers
  • consider signage and how it can contribute to local business and citizen needs without detracting from the rural character of the area
  • consider building height limits to allow new construction to be compatible with the scale of existing buildings and to ensure that existing fire-fighting equipment can adequately protect buildings
  • encourage developers to use shielded lighting to avoid floodlighting the river and abutters
  • look at biosolid/sludge/septage spreading issues and develop their own guidelines; consider allowing injection spreading of septage and application of locally-produced biosolids and sludge with monitoring and careful adherence to regulations
  • discourage polluting industrial uses
  • ensure that auto junkyards and facilities handling hazardous waste are sited well away from the river
  • discourage development of currently undeveloped lands around the Connecticut Lakes, in order to provide water quality protection, wildlife habitat, and the scenic qualities that are so important to the recreation and tourism component of this region's economy, and to prevent increased demands upon town services from such development
  • work with regional planning commissions to help implement the river corridor management plan


Regional Planning Commissions should:

  • work with local planning boards and selectmen to help implement this river corridor management plan



  • follow current laws
  • minimize erosion resulting from logging, farming, and other activities on the land wherever practicable to minimize turbidity and sedimentation
  • retain natural features and agricultural and forest lands along the river
  • avoid disturbing wetlands
  • plant or maintain stream side buffers to stabilize riverbanks, filter sediment, nutrients, and other pollution that might otherwise enter the stream, and provide privacy, habitat and shade to keep water cool for trout
  • select vegetative stabilization of streambanks and use of vegetation interplanted in riprap when eroding banks are a problem; include planting of vegetated buffers in the project
  • follow best management practices for application of biosolids and sludge, paying careful attention to existing soil pH and other conditions to be certain heavy metals and extra nutrients do not reach the river
  • examine possible tax benefits for restoration of historic buildings
  • learn to recognize species of concern
  • avoid planting purple loosestrife in gardens
  • avoid disturbance to nesting loons on the lakes; contact Audubon Society of New Hampshire with information

Forest Landowners should:

  • follow best/acceptable management practices for timber harvesting
  • promote ecosystem management as the preferred means of achieving sustainable forestry
  • minimize visual/water quality impacts of heavy cutting, especially near the river
  • develop management plans and conduct logging with the help of professional foresters
  • maintain a forested riparian buffer along waterways in which a no-cut strip immediately adjacent to the banks is surrounded by a zone of intensive selective management that allows new growth to effectively remove and utilize nutrients that might otherwise enter the stream and to provide habitat for insect-eating birds to help control forest insect outbreaks
  • dispose of slash away from streams and out of public view
  • increase overall forest growth, quality and productivity
  • reduce the risk of and suppress wildfires
  • promote and use integrated pest management to lessen the reliance on chemicals
  • skidder operators avoid damaging stone walls while working in the woods; if crossing is necessary, use only one location
  • consider presence of deer yards and den trees when planning and conducting logging operations
  • follow American Forest and Paper Association guidelines 

Farmers should:

  • voluntarily adopt best agricultural management practices
  • keep good records of yields, fertilizing, and soil/plant tissue analysis
  • decide on their own to establish/maintain filter strips between their fields and water courses
  • consider fencing off livestock access to protect bank stability, reduce siltation, and reduce the potential for animal waste to enter and contaminate the river
  • rotate corn frequently with other crops, particularly on flood-prone land


  • locate businesses in appropriate areas away from the river and prime agricultural lands
  • help educate visitors to the region about respect for private land and about visitor etiquette
  • banks develop socially responsible investment programs that promote forest-based economy
  • support development of eco-tourism in the area; prepare and distribute information on lodging and attractions
  • assist with appropriate literature for visitors interested in natural history
  • establish a regional farmers' market to help make people aware of the kinds of commodities which can be produced well in this region
  • keep agricultural infrastructure strong (seed/equipment dealers; auction houses; slaughterhouses)
  • establish commercial scale slaughterhouse
  • establish commercial cooks' kitchen similar to that recently completed in Lancaster
  • investigate the heritage tourism development program which has been undertaken in Berlin 

Utilities should:

  • maintain effective communication with local citizens and towns
  • vegetate rights of way with plants not requiring maintenance with herbicide; notify abutters before herbicide spraying
  • monitor actual herbicide applications at the time of application

New England Power Company or its successors should:

  • continue to maintain at least 60 cfs as the working minimum flow from Lake Francis to keep undammed river habitat as stable as possible, and continue to respond to critical low flow periods. A suggested release is at least 150 cfs combined flow from Lake Francis and Indian Stream during the typically low flow, warm water months of July and August, if it will not endanger the lakes, to help minimize the effects of low dissolved oxygen levels during critical times.
  • continue to be aware of its stewardship role
  • continue to communicate with Headwaters towns, citizens, and visitors

Farm Bureaus should:

  • work with Connecticut River Joint Commissions to promote valley agriculture


  • observe the current permitting process for activities that can affect the river
  • consider participating in volunteer water quality monitoring
  • participate in the Scenic Byway Study to be certain that it is responsive to their area's interests and concerns and provides their towns with the information they will find most useful
  • historical societies educate their fellow citizens, town officials, students, homeowners about local history and how it relates to the Connecticut River; consider writing and publishing histories of their town, conducting oral history interviews of long-time residents, and looking into the history of individual buildings
  • local media continue or consider carrying regular articles featuring an historic area, buildings, activities, or interviews with longtime residents

Connecticut River Watershed Council should:

  • revise Boating Guide to the Connecticut River
    (End of recommendations)